Welcoming 2022


The other day I gave away about 150 books. It’s only a fraction of the books in my house—no one in my family is especially good at giving things away—but it was cathartic. I have a book blog, where I post Q&As almost daily, and thus have the wonderful privilege of receiving free review copies in the mail. But of course I can’t keep them all.


I tend to downplay the start of a new year—whether on Jan. 1, or in September, when I observe Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. It’s too much pressure. I have too many things I’ve left undone, and the idea of making huge changes is daunting. Especially during this ongoing pandemic, now entering its third year.


Some people tend to make lists, and often I try. Admirable friends attempt to tackle the hardest thing on the list first, but I reach for the low-hanging fruit. Posting something on my website? That’s much easier than researching and writing an entry for the reference book I’m updating. Throwing in another load of laundry? Much easier than sending more queries into the void where, maybe one day, a literary agent will recognize that my manuscript is exactly what they’ve been looking for. Reading the latest awful headlines on the Washington Post website? Well, that’s not easier. But knowing as much as I can about the pandemic and the threats to our democracy is something I feel I need to do.


So, getting back to the 150 books…maybe more things in my cluttered house can be given away this coming year. Marie Kondo’s principles will never reign here, but if fewer things could spark joy, surely that would help.


As we leave behind another unsettling year, I wish everyone a healthy 2022.


--Deborah Kalb


  1. A happy and healthy 2022 to you as well, Deborah!

  2. I hope the receivers of all those books appreciate what it means for book lovers to give books away. Happy New Year Deborah.


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